Ritual Innovation

Strategic Interventions in South Asian Religion

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Brian K. Pennington, Amy L. Allocco
  • Albany, NY: 
    State University of New York Press
    , February
     288 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by Ute Hüsken forthcoming.


Challenges prevailing conceptions of what religious ritual does and how it achieves its ends.

Religious rituals are often seen as unchanging and ahistorical bearers of long-standing traditions. But as this book demonstrates, ritual is a lively platform for social change and innovation in the religions of South Asia. Drawing from Hindu and Jain examples in India, Nepal, and North America,the essays in this volume, written by renowned scholars of religion, explore how the intentional, conscious, and public invention or alteration of ritual can effect dramatic social transformation, whether in dethroning a Nepali king or sanctioning same-sex marriage. Ritual Innovation shows how the very idea of ritual as a conservative force misreads the history of religion by overlooking ritual’s inherent creative potential and its adaptability to new contexts and circumstances.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Brian K. Pennington is Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University and the author of Was Hinduism Invented? Britons, Indians, and the Colonial Construction of Religion.

Amy L. Allocco is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Elon University.

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